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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

US adds more than 200,000 jobs in July

Restaurants and healthcare contributed to the surge in new US jobs

Restaurants and healthcare were the major helpers of adding more than 200,000 jobs to the US market. Brian Snyder / Reuters
Restaurants and healthcare were the major helpers of adding more than 200,000 jobs to the US market. Brian Snyder / Reuters

The US economy continued to see robust job creation in July, driving the unemployment rate lower amid strong hiring in restaurants and health care, according to government data released Friday.

The world's largest economy added 209,000 net new positions for the month, well above analyst forecasts, the Labor Department reported.

The gain meant the unemployment rate ticked back down a tenth a point to 4.3 per cent, the same as in May.

President Donald Trump immediately hailed the report on Twitter:

"Excellent Jobs Numbers just released - and I have only just begun. Many job stifling regulations continue to fall. Movement back to USA!"

Hourly wages also continued to make steady progress, adding 2.5 per cent on an annual basis, the same gain recorded the month before.

The rosy jobs report, with a tightening jobs market and rising wages, could ease some of the confusion among Federal Reserve policymakers, who were expected to raise interest rates a third time this year but have been left perplexed by flagging inflation.

Despite the unexpected strength, last month's gain was slower than June's upwardly-revised 231,000 increase, and considerably slower than July 2016, when the US added 291,000 jobs.

Restaurants added 53,000 new positions, bringing the total gain for the sector over the last 12 months to 313,000.

Ambulatory health care services rose by 30,000 positions.

Heavier industries, however, including construction, manufacturing, transportation and the mining sector which contains the crucial oil industry -- industries that Trump has focused on -- were largely flat for the month.

The labor force participation rate rose 0.1 percent to 62.9 percent, but has remained about steady for the past 12 months, the report said.

*Agence France-Presse